The move on Al Watiya base comes after 48 hours of siege in which Libya's military destroyed three Russian-made Pantsir-type air defence systems supplied by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to Khalifa Haftar.

Libya's government has been under attack by Khalifa Haftar's forces since April 2019, with more than 1,000 killed in the violence.
Libya's government has been under attack by Khalifa Haftar's forces since April 2019, with more than 1,000 killed in the violence. (AA)

Libya’s army on Monday retook Al Watiya airbase occupied by renegade warlord Khalifa Haftar's militias, a key infrastructure now back under government's control after some six years under putschist forces.

The victory was announced by the media office of the government-led Burkan Al Ghadab (Volcano of Rage) Operation, citing Osama al Juwaili, the commander of Operation Peace Storm. 

The move comes after the Libyan army destroyed three Russian-made Pantsir-type air defence systems of Haftar supplied by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the last 48 hours.

The Libyan army on Monday shot down another air defence system used by Haftar southwest of the capital.

Libyan military spokesman Colonel Mohamed Qanunu said in a statement that the air strikes were carried out against Haftar's militias south of the city of Sirte.

A Russian-made Pantsir-type air defence system supplied by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and an electronic jammer were destroyed in the airstrikes, Qanunu added.

After capturing Al Watiya Airbase, the army is now preparing to retake the town of Tarhouna as well as southern Libya, the Libyan Army chief of staff said.

Operation Peace Storm was launched on March 26 to counter attacks on the capital.

Dismantling Haftar weaponry

Earlier on Sunday, the Libyan army shot down another air defence system and a drone in air strikes against Haftar militias at Al Watiya airbase.

On Saturday, the army destroyed the first Pantsir system supplied by the UAE.

Haftar stepped up attacks on civilians this May, as the Libyan army gained over his militias.

Key airbase

Al Watiya is seen as a key airbase, second only to Mitiga Airport. 

It was captured in 2014 by Haftar, who used it as his headquarters for attacks on the UN-backed government.

The government has been under attack by Haftar's forces since April 2019, with more than 1,000 people killed in the violence. 

Following the ouster of late ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, Libya's government was founded in 2015 under a UN-led political deal.

Source: AA